No. 18 Gamecocks open the season Friday against Dayton
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Gamecock baseball team will play its first game in 346 days as the Gamecocks open the 2021 season this weekend, hosting Dayton at Founders Park. The two teams start the series on Friday, Feb. 19 with a 4 p.m. first pitch. The series continues Saturday, Feb. 20 at 1 p.m. and concludes Sunday, Feb. 21 with a noon start. All three games will be streamed on SEC Network Plus. All games also will be broadcast on The Game 107.5 FM with Derek Scott, Tommy Moody and Brad Muller on the call. Carolina was off to a 12-4 start in 2020 before the pandemic shut down the season. Carolina returns 22 players, including eight position starters, from last year’s team and are picking in the top-25 in five of college baseball’s six major polls.
For the 2021 season, there will not be shuttles from either the Key Road Gravel Lot or the Colonial Life Arena parking lot. There will be passes at lot 1 available for $10 apiece.
Parking Lot Openings
4 p.m. Games – Gates open at 3 p.m., all lots open at 2:30 p.m.
1 p.m. Games – Gates open at noon, all lots open at 11:30 a.m.
Noon Games – Gates open at 11 a.m., all lots open at 10:30 a.m.
Head Coach Mark Kingston will go with redshirt junior Thomas Farr, senior Brannon Jordan and redshirt sophomore Julian Bosnic for the opening weekend rotation.
Farr gets the ball on Opening Day after going 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA in three starts for the Gamecocks in 2020. Farr struck out 14 batters in 16.2 innings pitched while holding opponents to a .113 batting average. He earned his biggest win on Feb. 29 against Clemson, allowing just two hits in five innings with three strikeouts.
Jordan is in the opening weekend rotation for the second straight season. He was 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four starts in 2020, striking out 32 batters in 21 innings pitched. Jordan was second in the SEC with a .104 opponent’s batting average and had nine strikeouts in five innings in the opening weekend win over Holy Cross.
Bosnic did not allow an earned run in 6.2 innings of work last season, earning wins on the mound against The Citadel and North Florida. Against the Bulldogs, Bosnic struck out three in 2.1 innings of work.
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
South Carolina Thomas Farr (R-Jr. RHP) 3-0, 1.72 ERA, 15.2 IP, 5 BB, 14 SO
Dayton Hunter Wolfe (Sr. LHP) 1-1, 3.10 ERA, 20.1 IP, 9 BB, 33 SO
South Carolina Brannon Jordan (Sr. RHP) 2-0, 1.71 ERA, 21.0 IP, 9 BB, 32 SO
Dayton Ben Olson (Gr. LHP) 1-1, 4.15 ERA, 17.1 IP, 9 BB, 22 SO
South Carolina Julian Bosnic (R-So. LHP) 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 6.2 IP, 8 BB, 7 SO
Dayton Cole Pletka (Sr. RHP) 2-2, 5.59 ERA, 19.1 IP, 15 BB, 24 SO
The Flyers were 6-8 in the 2020 season before the pandemic shut down college baseball. This included a sweep of Northern Kentucky the weekend before the shut down and three wins at the opening weekend UNC Wilmington tournament. Mariano Ricciardi led Dayton with a .339 batting average while Alex Brickman had three home runs and 16 RBI. Riley Tirotta was named Atlantic 10’s Preseason Player of the Year by D1Baseball.com and named the league’s second-best prospect for the 2021 draft by the website. On the mound, Hunter Wolfe had a 3.10 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched.
GAMECOCKS OPEN 2021 IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
Carolina has earned a spot in five of college baseball’s six national polls to start the 2021 season. The Gamecocks are 18th in both D1Baseball.com and Baseball America’s polls. Carolina is 20th in the USA Today Coaches’ poll, 21st in the Collegiate Baseball Top-40 poll and 23rd in the NCBWA writers’ poll.
South Carolina is 87-41 all-time in season openers. This includes a 10-0 win over Holy Cross in 2020 as Carmen Mlodzinski threw seven shutout innings and Bryant Bowen drove in three runs in the win. Carolina is 19-3 in its last 22 lidlifters and has won 22 straight opening series including a series sweep of Holy Cross last year.
NO BREAKS IN THE GAMECOCKS’ SLATE
South Carolina will have 21 games against teams currently in the D1Baseball.com Top-25 poll during the 2021 season. Carolina has three-game series against No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 6 Ole Miss, No. 7 Mississippi State, No. 8 Arkansas, No. 12 LSU and No. 19 Tennessee this spring. This does not include the three-game set with Clemson and three games at Georgia, both of whom are receiving votes in most national polls. In fact, the Gamecocks face the top four teams in the SEC West this season to go along with playing the five SEC East teams.
The Gamecocks continue their home stand to start the 2021 season on Tuesday, Feb. 23 when Carolina welcomes Winthrop to Founders Park. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the game will be televised on SEC Network Plus.